Toronto iPad developers find success on new platform

The Endloop Studios office might have the highest volume of iPads per capita in Canada. After all, only a select few Canadians were able to get their hands on one during the first wave of sales, and only if they trekked south of the border and waited in long lines at the Apple store. But in their suite at 20 Maud St., an office they share with other local startups like digital experience agency Jet Cooper and digital marketing company Orange Rhino Media, the team has a total of three iPads -- one for each employee.

And it only makes sense -- their iMockups application was one of the first to be offered on the device, and has been making waves with developers and the media alike since late March.

Endloop Studios was founded in 2004 by brothers Ken and Garry Seto (they recently added new employee Dirk Heikoop). Since then they've been busy building iPhone applications and games, including iHeartRate and TriTowers Arcade Solitaire.

When they learned about the release of the iPad they knew they had to take advantage of the new platform. They decided to build iMockups ($9.99), a rapid wireframing and layout app that allows developers to work on mockups of their iPhone, iPad and web projects. Developers can create iPhone app designs in seconds (as the video demo below will show you - literally 35 seconds).

They built the app without an actual product in front of them, working on it around the clock to submit it in time for the release date. Then they drove to Buffalo and amassed their iPad collection, which is when they saw their app on the device for the first time. After it's release the app was in the Top 20 Productivity apps, and was praised by tech experts like Robert Scoble, and Chris Pirrillo, who said "If you weren't planning to buy an iPad, this app alone could very well change your mind."

Since then iMockups has appeared in the media everywhere from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post to The Globe & Mail. It was on Mashable's list of Top 10 iPad App Video Demonstrations and on Wired's list of 10 Apps We're Excited to Try on iPad Launch Day.

iMockups demo from Erin Bury on Vimeo.

Ken Seto of Endloop Studios demos the iMockups application for the iPad.

Ken attributes their success of late to a few factors -- strategic thinking, good timing, and plain old luck. "There was some strategy involved," Ken says. "We knew who the market was going to be that would be buying the iPad first. It made sense to build a product that appealed to that market -- and that market is ourselves."

He says iMockups also showed people how useful the iPad can be. "There were a lot of people who were very skeptical about the iPad and its uses beyond just media consumption," Ken says. "We've seen a lot of posts that regard iMockups as one of the first signs that indicated the iPad could be used for more than just watching movies and reading newspapers."

For now the team is focusing solely on iMockups - they've released one update and are currently working on the second. "It's giving us a lot more focus having just one product that we're getting behind," Ken says.

The updates include bug fixes, changes that have been prioritized based on user feedback, and upgrades like user guidelines. They also have some ideas for other productivity apps up their sleeves, but can't talk about them just yet.

So what's the biggest change at the company since all this iPad hoopla? Well that's simple, Ken says. "We can be more certain of our paycheque now."

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